HOW TO BURGLAR PROOF YOUR HOUSE!

Recently we had the misfortune of having our home burglarized. It was a very unsettling experience. My son discovered the break-in when he returned home from school. He called me immediately to let me know and coincidentally I was on my way home at the time. When I got home I found my son to be visibly shaken and upset by this intrusion as was I.

Something we learned during this event was that material things can be easily replaced. However, the items of sentimental value that were stolen, such as jewelry that was passed on by our parents and grandparents, mementos of our children from first time events in their lives can never be replaced. This is the real loss in a situation such as this.

I decided to share a few tips with you to help in securing your home.

  • Don’t leave items of value such as bicycles in the yard in plain view or easily accessible.
  • When purchasing new electronics or appliances don’t leave the empty boxes in plain view. Thieves will know there are brand new items in the home.
  • Have lights on timers and leave your radio or television on so it appears someone may be home.
  • Secure sliding doors and windows with wooden dowels or a metal rod to prevent the window from opening even if the lock has been breached.
  • Never leave a spare key under a mat or flower pot.
  • If you are away for an extended period of time cancel newspaper delivery and have the post office hold your mail.
  • Get to know your neighbours. Close knit neighbourhoods tend to have fewer breakins.
  • Don’t share travel plans on the internet (facebook)
  • Always remember to make sure all windows and doors are properly secured. They say over 40% of break-ins happen without the use of force.
  • Ask your Coldwell Banker Pinnacle real estate professional for home safety information.
  • Refer to your local police services for additional information for making your home burglar proof.

I hope these tips are helpful, because everyone, whether they realize it or not, has PRICELESS possessions.

 

To Buy or Rent – that is the question!

Our current market has been fueled to some extent by First Time Buyers, and sometimes getting to the point of being ready to buy is the biggest hurdle they face.

For a lot of people, the number one reason they choose to rent versus buy their own home is their fear of signing their name to a long-term mortgage agreement. But let’s face it – very few of us can go through life without paying for our place of residence in one form or another. In that sense, you’ve already made a commitment to a fixed schedule of payments for housing — whether it’s in the form of a mortgage or a rental lease. In actual fact, one of the major advantages of a mortgage agreement is that it usually covers a longer time period than a lease — which can work in your favour. Since no one can guarantee what your rental payments may be two or even five years down the road, your mortgage agreement actually protects you from the increases – compounding annually — which you can often encounter when you rent.

Nevertheless, some people are still intimidated by the total debt that a mortgage agreement represents. Yet if you added up all the rental payments you could expect to pay over an extended period of time, you may find that going the mortgage route is actually the more affordable of the two options. With today’s relatively low mortgage rates, and financing options, the cost of carrying a home may be lower than what you might expect. Your Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professional can show you how owning your own home may be more affordable than you ever imagined.

While making mortgage payments may actually be more affordable than paying rental costs, let’s not lose sight of the biggest financial benefit of buying a home.
The simple fact of the matter is, when you rent, you’re slowly but surely building someone else’s ownership equity in the property. On the other hand, when you buy a home, a portion of your mortgage payment is building personal equity for you. And if sometime in the future, you decide to sell, that equity is something you’ll take with you as you make your next move.

Finally, let’s not forget the creative freedom and pride of ownership that comes with owning your own property. When you buy, you decide the extent of home improvements, and decor changes you want to make. You decide on colour schemes and where you want to build that bookcase. Maybe best of all, you gain the equity that those improvements add to your home. Spending money to improve a rental property just puts value in someone else’s pocket.

If you’re tired of paying off someone else’s home for them, talk to your Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate sales professional for a no obligation consultation and find out how to make your dream of home ownership a reality.

OLD MAN WINTER IS KNOCKING AT OUR DOOR!

Many of us don’t think about energy savings until winter comes along and we start to scramble to do all the necessary fix ups that may make a difference in the energy efficiency of our homes.

Energy costs can take a big bite out of any homeowner’s budget, so you need to know how to be energy-wise.  Here are a few quick and easy ways to cut your energy bills with a minimum of time and effort.

One of the biggest energy expenses is your home heating bill, so let’s start there.  You can significantly reduce your energy costs by installing a thermostat with an automatic timer that allows you to set the temperature back by a few degrees at bedtime, and returns the temperature to a more comfortable level before you get up.  After all, why heat the whole house, when an extra quilt will keep you toasty and warm for a lot less money?  On the flip side, when the temperatures ramp up, pre-set timers can reduce air conditioning costs too.

Similarly, if you have a room that isn’t used every day, such as a guest room or workshop, consider shutting the air register, and closing the door until you plan to use the space. Your furnace or air conditioning system won’t have to work so hard and you’ll pocket the savings while the rest of your home environment stays in the comfort zone.

You can also reduce the effect of ambient solar heating in summer and heat loss in winter with lined draperies or installing window blinds.  Adding weather-stripping to seal drafts around doors can also result in big energy savings.

Insulation is an energy saver that works hard for you all year long.  A one-time investment keeps your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter and the cost of installation can be recaptured in energy savings.  Many local utilities and  government bodies offer special incentives or rebates to help offset the cost of energy-saving improvements, so be sure to investigate what options are available in your market.  Your Coldwell Banker Pinnacle real estate professional may also be a helpful source of information about local programs.

There are other things you can do to reduce your energy costs besides making sure your house is energy efficient. Here are a few interesting facts I would like to share.

 

  • Fix any leaky hot water tap. One constant drip can waste up to 75 litres of water each week.
  • Letting your dishes air dry instead of using the heat-dry cycle will save you up to 50% of your dishwasher energy.
  • Believe it or not – using lids while you cook decreases your energy consumption by up to 14%
  • Ensure your freezer is set to -18º C. A freezer that is set 5-6ºC colder uses up to 25% more energy.

 

So let’s all try to do our best to be more energy efficient and save some money at the same time!

How to Get Your Home Into “Listing Condition”

Many homeowners ask us “What do I need to do the get my house ready to list?”.

When it comes to getting a home ready for sale, sellers should create a warm, inviting yet neutral atmosphere that will appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. The good news is, sellers don’t need to do a complete design overhaul to get a great result.

If you are getting the urge to move, here are seven simple staging secrets to help boost your home’s appeal and give you a competitive edge to help sell your home.
• Stage rooms with one purpose. Rooms that have many uses can confuse or even deter homebuyers, so staging rooms with one purpose is vital. Determine who your most likely target market will be, whether its young professionals with no kids, families, or even empty nesters. Then present your areas to fit their needs. If you’ve been using a room as a guest room/kids playroom/home office, pick the one use that best suits your buyers.

• Tackle the easy “do-it-yourself” projects. In a Coldwell Banker consumer survey of first time buyers, the vast majority said move-in conditions are very important in their search. Spruce up your home by replacing outdated kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Add a fresh coat of paint. Repaint or refinish kitchen cabinets and update with new hardware.

• Focus on the living areas. Potential buyers should envision themselves entertaining friends and family in the living areas of the home. Make sure those areas feel as spacious as possible by removing any unnecessary furniture to allow for easy traffic flow.

• Make sure the master bedroom appeals to both sexes. Remember that the master bedroom is a room that a couple will be sharing, so the décor should appeal to both sexes. It should feel like a calm and peaceful refuge, not a frilly boudoir. Remove any feature that seems too gender-specific and paint the walls a neutral colour.

• Clear away family photos and mementos. Buyers want to picture their family living in a home, not the previous owners. Put away family portraits, personal collections and knickknacks. Removing these items will also eliminate clutter and ensure that people are focusing on the home, not the photos from the last family vacation.

• Furnish the home, but don’t overdo it. While an empty house may look spacious, it’s often hard for buyers to visualize their belongings in a home if they’re just looking at bare walls and floors. Leave the basic components that allow the viewer to define each room.

• Don’t forget the outside spaces. First impressions can play a key role in a consumer’s decision-making process, so don’t neglect your home’s curb appeal. Make sure the home’s exterior is inviting by trimming the bushes, mowing the lawn and painting faded window trim. Buyers will appreciate the seller’s efforts with the yard work, and will tend to assume that the same attention to detail has been devoted throughout the property.

I hope these tips are of help if you are thinking of moving.  Be sure to call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle sales professional. They will help you by providing suggestions specific to your home to maximize your sale price.